Mastering The Art Of Putting – Set Up

By Chris Foley, PGA Master Professional







Over the course of the season, in each issue of Tee Times we will cover an aspect of putting in this column. Becoming a great putter is part of the game that doesn’t require exceptional athletic ability, great club head speed, or a great deal of time and energy. It is the area of the game were the average player can be of similar skill level to the elite level player. With the right information and with a commitment to practice your putting will improve and your scores will get better!

We can break putting into the following areas; the set-up, stroke mechanics, distance control, and green reading.

This month we are going to focus on the set-up. A good set-up is the foundation of being a great putter. If we are not in an efficient set-up, we will make compensations throughout the rest of the stroke. While we see a lot of variation among great putter’s set-ups, they tend to have the following commonalities.

The stance: While there are many variations, these are the most important elements of a good putting stance.

  • The player is bent from the hips so that the shoulder line is slightly outside of the toe line. The lower half of the back is flat, and the shoulders are relaxed.
  • The position of the head and eyes are over the ball to slightly inside of the golf ball.
  • The putter shaft is an extension of the forearms and the forearms and upper arm create an angle
  • The eyeline, shoulders, and elbows should all be parallel to the target line

The grip: As with the full swing, the grip is a primary influence in the rotation of the clubface within the stroke. An efficient putting grip is one that allows you to bring the putter back to impact in a position that starts the golf ball on its intended target line. In this type of grip, the hands are in a position where they are balanced so that the face rotates an equal amount on both the back and forward swing. The hands are in a position where there doesn’t have to be any manipulation of the face in the forward stroke. Grip pressure tends to be light and tension free.

Ball position: Our ball position influences the perception of how the putter face is aimed at address. There is not a perfect ball position, but every golfer has a ball position that is perfect for them. If the ball position is too far back in the player’s stance, aim will be influenced to the right. If the ball position is too forward, the aim will be influenced to the left.

Incorporate these elements into your putting set-up is the first step in building the foundation of a great putting. In the next issue we will go over stroke mechanics.